Frederick Douglas Paper
In modern society, there are three stages in life. In the first stage, one has to inevitably attend grade school to begin receiving an education. Once completed, the second stage is when the individual has to decide whether or not he will be graduating from a college. And last is the period of their life when they have to find a job. Usually college graduates will find a better paying job than high school graduates, but they will usually not be earning as much as their managers who had endured more years of school. In order for college graduates to earn the same wage as their managers, they must match their education. This was similar to the case of Frederick Douglass, a slave who escaped slavery simply because he became was educated.
Frederick Douglass, a self-educated former slave, wrote an autobiography that projected the evils of slavery to its readers. In his narrative, Frederick Douglass talked about being a slave for Master Hugh’s family for about seven years. Fortunately, Mrs. Hugh’s soul was never corrupted by the power of slavery and she taught Douglass the alphabets. However, Master Hugh caught his wife teaching Douglass and immediately stopped her from continuing. Master Hugh claimed, “If you teach that nigger how to read, there would be no keeping him. It would forever unfit him to be a slave. He would at once become unmanageable, and of no value to his master. As to himself, it could do him no good, but a great deal of harm. It would make him discontented and unhappy.” (Life of Frederick Douglass, 29). These words helped Frederick Douglass understand that in order to be kept a slave; the white man must deprive him of his intellect.
When the white man deprives a slave of their intellect, it keeps them ignorant. By not telling a slave their age, name, or family members, the slave owner is able to rob them of their sense of identity. Slave owners also knew that literacy would also allow slaves to question the righteous of slavery. However, the main reason to keep slaves illiterate is to allow southern slaveholders to maintain control over what America knows about slavery. If slaves cannot write, their side of the story can never be told. In the case of Frederick Douglass, it was already too late for his slave master to prevent him from learning. His wife had already set the spark. “The first step had been taken. Mistress, in teach me the alphabet, had given me the inch, and no precaution could prevent from taking the ell.” (Life of Frederick Douglass, 33).
Although Frederick Douglass realized that slave owners kept their slaves illiterate to keep them under control, he did not realize that education would also help slaves see themselves as real men and not only slaves. Nonetheless, Frederick Douglass unconsciously freed himself through his discovery of the definition of an abolitionist, which meant “antislavery.” Because of Douglass’s abilities to understand the newspaper section of “abolitionist petition” of the North, he knew there was hope for him by running to the North. This was his first account of using education to free himself from slavery.
In my point of view, I agree with Frederick Douglass’s claim that once you’re educated you cannot be a slave again. My first reason is that once you’re educated, you will receive a boost in self-esteem. This boost in self-esteem will give you more confidence to do things. For example, if I had a communication class, where I would constantly speak in front of a large crowd; in no time would I build the confidence to speak in public. Whenever I speak in front of a large crowd, I would no longer doubt myself. Therefore, if slaves were educated, they would develop the confidence to do certain things that they use to fear like escaping to the North.
My second reason is that when you’re educated you have the opportunity to